Characteristics of mental development during adolescence (2023)

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Mental development is closely related with intelligence and the capacity to learn. It is also a kind of intellectual growth which the individual has to attain with ‘the help of maturation, learning and education. The characteristics of mental development during adolescence are :

1. Tremendous development of memory and imagination.

2. Increased ability to communicate with others.

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3. Increased ability to generalise facts.

4. Increased ability to deal with abstract terms.

5. Ability to understand relationship between objects and to solve problems of increasing complexity and difficulty.

6. Increased ability of decision-making and understanding of moral issues.

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Thus mental development begins with the ability to respond to simple stimuli and with the passage of time it acquires a complex nature. In other words, the mental development of an individual is indicated when he/she is able to perform mental processes successfully.

Piaget’s Work on Cognitive Development

Jean Piaget (1896-1980) is regarded, as one of the pioneers in psychological investigation of children. His work on cognitive development at the adolescent phase of life span is quite remarkable. According to his theory, a series of developmental stages are found in human growth and there are four basic concepts of cognitive development in this process:

1. Schemes (Cognitive Structure):

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The patterns of behaviour are used in dealing with objects in their environment. As development proceeds, each pattern enlarges and changes. Schemes may be classified as behavioural or congnitive. They are behavioural when the action is that of grasping an object like swimming or cycling. They are cognitive, when the action is that of solving problems or learning concepts.

2. Assimilation:

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Assimilation implies incorporation of something from the environment. New ideas, concepts and stimuli are taken in and incorporated into one’s existing set of schemes. It is, however, necessary that the object or event to be assimilated must fit in an existing scheme.

3. Accommodation:

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Many a times the existing scheme doesn’t work. Accommodation involves modification or change of same elements of an old scheme or learning new scheme which is more appropriate for the new object. Under this situation a person might change the scheme. This is accommodation.

4. Equilibration:

According to Piaget when by the existing scheme the new situation is not fully handled then a state of imbalance is created and an individual tries to restore the balance. This process is called equilibration. Piaget believes that learning depends on this process.

Plage’s views are quite familiar in the new educational thought. Instructions in the classroom would serve the function of setting into motion the process of assimilation and accommodation for the particular areas of thinking, understanding and exploration.

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Socio-cultural Development

Behavioural changes are reflected in an adolescent due to socio- cultural impact. The interaction of adolescents with the existing socio- cultural environment results in some new developments.

It initiates a process of redefining their social relationships. Society generally does not define a distinctively definite role for adolescents. Hence, they are caught in the ambiguous overlap between the categorically defined roles of childhood and those of adulthood.

Their psychological needs also are not appreciated in proper perspective by the society. This, at times generates aggressive and reactionary behaviour among them, which many a time is socially disapproved. This is why this period is generally denoted as period of stress and storm. The socio-cultural developments include:

(1) Social consciousness,

(2) Attraction for the opposite sex,

(3) Adult -like behaviour,

(4) Peer group preference; and

(5) Changes in family relationships.

Following two theories have been put forward by the psychoanalyst school of thinkers to explain development during adolescence.

(Video) Brain changes during adolescence | Behavior | MCAT | Khan Academy

A. Theory of Salutatory Development

B, Theory of Gradual Development

A. Theory of Salutatory Development:

This theory has been propounded by G. Stanley Hall, a famous psychologist. He made an intensive study on the nature of adolescence and described its characteristics in detail. According to Hall, the physical, psychological and emotional changes take place at a very rapid speed.

In his book ‘Adolescence’ (1904) he described the period of adolescence as a period of great stress and strain, storm and strife. It is the period of new learning, self-assertion, self-abasement and a self- basement. It is a period when new interests in adult life and in vocations develop.

B. Theory of gradual development:

Famous psychologists, like Thorndike and Kinsey are of the opinion that the physical, psychological and emotional changes that take place in the child are gradual. The late childhood and adolescence are interlinked and in late childhood the symptoms of adolescence start themselves.

Any period of life tends to be characterised by physical, psychological and social developments specific in origin and timing to that period. But the period of adolescence, more than any other, is characterised by an upsurge of changes and behavioural contradictions.

Characteristics of Physical Development

It is during adolescence that rapid physical growth and changes in physiological processes take place. Arising from the hormonal changes, these developments produce reproductive maturation.,

Important external and internal bodily changes that take place during adolescence are as under:

Height, weight and body proportions:

The average girl reaches her mature height between the age of 16 and 17 and a boy a year or so later. Weight changes follow a timetable similar to that of height changes and various parts of the body gradually come into proportion.

Sex organs and endocrine system:

Both female and male sex organs reach their mature size in late adolescence. The sex glands become functional and there is a temporary imbalance of entire endocrine system in early adolescence.

necessary that the object or event to be assimilated must fit in an existing scheme.

3. Accommodation:

Many a times the existing scheme doesn’t work. Accommodation involves modification or change of same elements of an old scheme or learning new scheme which is more appropriate for the new object. Under this situation a person might change the scheme. This is accommodation.

4. Equilibration:

According to Piaget when by the existing scheme the new situation is not fully handled then a state of imbalance is created and an individual tries to restore the balance. This process is called equilibration. Piaget believes that learning depends on this process.

(Video) Intellectual Or Mental Development During Adolescence || B.ed 1st year || Childhood and Growing Up

Piaget’s views are quite familiar in the new educational thought. Instructions in the classroom would serve the function of setting into motion the process of assimilation and accommodation for the particular areas of thinking, understanding and exploration.

Socio-cultural Development

Behavioural changes are reflected in an adolescent due to socio- cultural impact. The interaction of adolescents with the existing socio- cultural environment results in some new developments. It initiates a process of redefining their social relationships. Society generally does not define a distinctively definite role for adolescents.

Hence, they are caught in the ambiguous overlap between the categorically defined roles of childhood and those of adulthood. Their psychological needs also are not appreciated in proper perspective by the society.

This, at times generates aggressive and reactionary behaviour among them, which many a time is socially disapproved. This is why this period is generally denoted as period of stress and storm. The socio-cultural developments include:

(1) Social consciousness,

(2) attraction for the opposite sex,

(3) adult-like behaviour,

(4) peer group preference; and

(5) changes in family relationships.

Following two theories have been put forward by the psychoanalyst school of thinkers to explain development during adolescence.

Theory of Salutatory Development

Theory of Gradual Development

A. Theory of Salutatory Development:

This theory has been propounded by G. Stanley Hall, a famous psychologist. He made an intensive study on the nature of adolescence and described its characteristics in detail. According to Hall, the physical, psychological and emotional changes take place at a very rapid speed.

In his book ‘Adolescence’ (1904) he described the period of adolescence as a period of great stress and strain, storm and strife. It is the period of new learning, self-assertion, self-abasement and a self- basement. It is a period when new interests in adult life and in vocations develop.

B. Theory of gradual development:

Famous psychologists, like Thorndike and Kinsey are of the opinion that the physical, psychological and emotional changes that take place in the child are gradual. The late childhood and adolescence are interlinked and in late childhood the symptoms of adolescence start themselves.

Any period of life tends to be characterised by physical, psychological and social developments specific in origin and timing to that period. But the period of adolescence, more than any other, is characterised by an upsurge of changes and behavioural contradictions.

Characteristics of Physical Development

(Video) Cognitive Development in Adolescents.

It is during adolescence that rapid physical growth and changes in physiological processes take place. Arising from the hormonal changes, these developments produce reproductive maturation.,

Important external and internal bodily changes that take place during adolescence are as under:

Height, weight and body proportions : The average girl reaches her mature height between the age of 16 and 17 and a boy a year or so later. Weight changes follow a timetable similar to that of height changes and various parts of the body gradually come into proportion.

Sex organs and endocrine system : Both female and male sex organs reach their mature size in late adolescence. The sex glands become functional and there is a temporary imbalance of entire endocrine system in early adolescence.

The-Endocrine System

Glands which release chemicals directly into the blood stream

Adolescence

Sequence of Physical Changes During Adolescence

Female

Growth of testes and scrotum generally by the onset of puberty and begins between age 10 and 11 years. Pubic Hair appearance.

The spurt in height, wider shoulders and the boy becomes more muscular. Voice change.

Growth of body hair. Activation of oil and sweat glands.

Growth of facial hair.

Puberty among girls begins between 8 and 12 years of age and ends around 16 years of age.

Breast budding starts from 8 to 13 years and completes between 13 and 18 years.

Growth of bony pelvis.

Growth spurt starts around 10 years of age and peaks at 12.

Pubic hair appearance. First menstrual period is seen between the age of 9 and 18 years. ,

Growth of body hair, activation of oil and sweat glands, completion of the growth of uterus and vagina as organs for reproduction.

FAQs

Characteristics of mental development during adolescence? ›

The psychological changes of adolescence include the appearance of new cognitive structures (e.g., the ability to think abstractly) and introspective ability, the establishment of moral values and norms, and a coming to terms with the developmental tasks that are specific to this period of life, as discussed in the ...

What are the characteristics of mental development? ›

Mental development includes such abilities as attending, perceiving, observing, remembering, imagining, thinking, solving problems and growth of intelligence as well as of language. These abilities change, grow and mature with age and decline in old age.

What are the characteristics of adolescent stage? ›

Emotional development
Stage with AgeMiddle Adolescence (ages 14-15 years)Late Adolescence (ages 16-18 years)
Body ImageLess concern about physical changes but increased interest in personal attractiveness Excessive physical activity alternating with lethargyUsually comfortable with body image
5 more rows

What are the five characteristics of adolescence? ›

Leading characteristics of adolescence are – increased decision-making, biological growth and development, search for self, increased pressures and an undefined status. Explore related topics at BYJU'S.

What are the examples of mental changes in adolescence? ›

Emotional Changes During Puberty
  • Experiencing mood swings. Mood swings can be a part of growing up. ...
  • Feeling differently about your peers. ...
  • Becoming more sensitive to the world around you. ...
  • Feeling overly sensitive. ...
  • Feeling self-conscious. ...
  • Peer pressure.

What is mental development in adolescence? ›

Adolescence marks the beginning development of more complex thinking processes (also called formal logical operations). This time can include abstract thinking the ability to form their own new ideas or questions. It can also include the ability to consider many points of view and compare or debate ideas or opinions.

What are the physical and mental changes during adolescence? ›

During puberty, the body is adjusting to these fluctuating hormone levels and this fluctuation does create mood swings. However, there are several other physical causes accounting for increased moodiness apart from fluctuating hormones. Children's moodiness can be affected by their lack of sleep.

How do mental changes affect the adolescent? ›

The psychological changes of adolescence include the appearance of new cognitive structures (e.g., the ability to think abstractly) and introspective ability, the establishment of moral values and norms, and a coming to terms with the developmental tasks that are specific to this period of life, as discussed in the ...

What are 3 mental emotional changes that occur during puberty adolescence? ›

During puberty your child's emotions may become stronger and more intense. Their mood might change more frequently, quickly and randomly. Your child may have strong emotions that they've never experienced before. It's common for them to feel confused, scared or angry and not know why.

What are mental changes? ›

An alteration in mental status refers to general changes in brain function, such as confusion, amnesia (memory loss), loss of alertness, disorientation (not cognizant of self, time, or place), defects in judgment or thought, unusual or strange behavior, poor regulation of emotions, and disruptions in perception, ...

What are social characteristics of adolescence? ›

Adolescent development is characterized by biological, cognitive, and social changes. Social changes are particularly notable as adolescents become more autonomous from their parents, spend more time with peers, and begin exploring romantic relationships and sexuality.

Why is mental development important? ›

Why is Cognitive Development important? Cognitive development provides children with the means of paying attention to thinking about the world around them. Everyday experiences can impact a child's cognitive development.

Why is adolescent mental health important? ›

Good mental health is important for healthy teenage development, strong relationships and resilience. Strong and loving relationships can have a direct and positive influence on teenage mental health. Physical health is key to mental health.

What social and emotional changes we can observe in adolescence? ›

Social changes in adolescence

You might notice your child trying out new things like clothing styles, subcultures, music, art or friendship groups. Friends, family, media and culture are some of the influences on your child's choices in these years.

What changes happen during adolescence? ›

Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes. An adolescent may grow several inches in several months followed by a period of very slow growth, then have another growth spurt. Changes with puberty (sexual maturation) may happen gradually or several signs may become visible at the same time.

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